&#91EDITORIALS&#93Reform the prosecution

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&#91EDITORIALS&#93Reform the prosecution

True to the vows of the government, the new personnel appointments for senior prosecutors are an amazing array of dramatic moves. The appointments are unprecedented in the scope of changes that will push older prosecutors into retirement while elevating younger ones to the ranks of leadership. The result is an unmistakable shuffle of leadership in one of the country’s most powerful organizations.
But the basis of some of the appointments is not immediately obvious in objective terms, and considerable objections and other side effects are not unexpected in the aftermath as the organization’s structure goes through an overhaul.
What clearly stands out in the changes is a changing of the guard that brings in a new generation of prosecutors to lead. There are also appointments that are clearly intended to punish an appointee or incumbent. The problem that runs through these changes is that they are not based on objective standards or supporting records that are particularly important when personnel changes are made to serve those special purposes. When subjective decisions are left to creep into the changes, the prosecutors’ problem of being so easily influenced by power and of abusing that power will never be cured. Prosecutors must also understand the importance of establishing a personnel committee.
Prosecutors know full well that their organization is in crisis. They should heed and fear the message that the public has an utter lack of support for them. Indeed, the public has long distrusted them.
But there will not be a better chance to reform the prosecution. What it received was a clean sheet of paper to begin its work. And there is a consensus, both within and from the outside, about how to restore integrity to the organization and how to re-establish the organization’s authority. But the prosecution is under a greater burden: It now has no one to blame but itself.
It is the prosecutors’ job to quickly put their house in order and show that they are getting back on their feet. Reform is just a beginning, and the first measure of that is in the next round of personnel moves that will name the next tier of prosecutors.
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